TxDOT is launching a statewide "Faces of Drunk Driving" campaign on Tuesday, showing the real faces and stories behind the statistics about driving under the influence.
The campaign will involve video testimonials in English and Spanish, and it will highlight the human toll that drinking and driving can have.
According to TxDOT, these testimonials will feature personal accounts from offenders, victims, families of those who survived, and others whose lives have been impacted as a result of impaired driving.
One of the stories featured in the "Faces of Drunk Driving" campaign is that of Dillon Todaro, a 25-year-old from Bryan, Texas, who was killed while driving home from a fish fry in August 2014.
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Todaro was killed instantly when his truck ran off the road and hit a brick mailbox and concrete pole. His blood alcohol concentration was 0.16, twice the legal limit, TxDOT said.
Todaro is just one of nearly a thousand people killed every year in drunk driving crashes in Texas, TxDOT said.
According to TxDOT, there were 963 DUI-alcohol related fatalities in Texas last year, meaning that on average, a person in Texas dies every nine hours and six minutes as a result of a traffic crash involving alcohol.
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"Drinking and driving can lead to tragic consequences that are 100% preventable," TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams said. "These consequences involve individuals who made the unfortunate decision to drink and drive along with many innocent victims of those decisions. This is why it is critical to always plan ahead for a sober ride through a designated driver, taxi, ride-share app or simply by staying where you are. Drinking and driving do not mix."
Another one of the "faces" of the campaign, 25-year-old Walter Tidwell, talks about those regrets and shares details of the night he decided to get in his car and drive home alone after a long night of drinking.
TxDOT said Tidwell was pulled over after driving the wrong way down a one-way street before he could hurt himself or someone else.
He recently resolved the case after three years of court visits and will undergo alcohol and drug offender courses, community service, and probation, TxDOT said.
Full video stories and other drunk driving facts can be found at online.
According to TxDOT, DUI crashes are completely preventable when drivers who've been drinking find a sober ride home.
To prevent DUI crashes, TxDOT said Texans should designate a driver who doesn't drink any alcohol, take a taxi, call a friend or family member, or use a rideshare app.
Those who have been drinking can also stay where they are until they are sober and can get behind the wheel, TxDOT said.